Dengeki Rankings I Special Report: Cherry Blossom Times I Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis Chapter 10 I Tales of Breaker Chapter 8 I Still More Cell Phone RPGs I Namco x Capcom Pre-Order Campaign I Eien no Aselia: Kono Daichi no Hate de Delaye I Culture Corner: Ask Sensei I Sayonara
Sakura April 04, 2005


Spring has finally hit Japan. The weather is absolutely wonderful, and everywhere I go I see flowering trees in full bloom. New Orleans was quite pretty in spring, but it has absolutely nothing on Niihama. I've never lived someplace so beautiful. I only wish my fiancee could be here with me. She'd love it even more than me.

As for gaming, there's not been a lot going on with me. I've been spending WAY too much time watching Gundam to play video games. I hope to finish up Metal Gear Solid 3 soon though. I don't like leaving games half-finished. And soon I will throw Wipeout Pure into the mix. I'm quite excited to buy that game next week. I know many people in the States already have it, but some games actually come out on your half of the world first. I'm shocked, but not every game comes out here first. It's mainly only the RPGs. With other games, you've got maybe 50/50 odds that Japan will get it first.

In other news, I hope you all enjoyed our April Fools pranks. I was pretty happy with my Final Fantasy VII: EC story. I'd been planning it for months. Like so many readers, I fell for April Fools stories in years past, but now I got to write my very own piece of fake news. It's a very fun experience, even though I had to give up almost half of my nightly sleep that night to help get everything up on time.

Other than that, I don't have much news that won't be appearing later in the column. I've started writing this column much earlier than normal, but I've got a busy day planned. In an attempt to further my weight loss, I'm going to start exercising more regularly. I'm playing soccer with one of my students tonight, and then I'm going straight to the onsen. Even though I'll be pressed for time tonight, I don't want to deny myself my favorite part of my weekly routine after doing the Japandemonium column. I'm a regular customer at this onsen, and I go every single Monday night. It's the best way I've found to end one week and begin the next.

And for those that do not know, 'sakura' is the Japanese word for cherry blossom. During this time of year, lots of people have parties to look at the trees in full bloom. These are called 'hanami' parties. Since today's column will have plenty of pictures of sakura, I think it's only fair to get this hanami party started!

 Dengeki Rankings

This week saw a lot of turnover. Six games that made the list last week were not invited back for another week's stay on the charts, but five games have stepped up to help fill the gap. Unfortunately, none of the RPGs were able to take the top spot away from Konami's soccer game, Winning Eleven 8, but the number two slot is now held by a game I need to buy. I'm never going to work through my backlog...

Without delay, let's see some numbers!

Position Title Publisher Platform
2 Wild Arms 4th Detonator Media Play
4 Shining Force Neo Sega
6 Egg Monster Hero Square Enix
11 Phantom Kingdom Nippon Ichi
16 Megaman.exe 5: Team of Colonel Capcom
17 Tales of Eternia Namco
30 Phantasy Star Generation: 2 Sega
32 Pokemon Emerald Nintendo
36 Megaman.exe 5 Team of Pruus Capcom
40 Ys III: Wanderers from Ys Taito

Source: Dengeki Online

 Special Report: Cherry Blossom Times

I've decided to include a special report roughly once a month to give my readers a photographic glimpse into Japan. Some of these will be various locations in Niihama, and others may be more exotic locations like Kyoto and Nara. Heck, one of them will even be my apartment. Originally, I was hired to do news for Japanese RPGs, but I had grander visions for my column. I wanted to include the culture of this unique country as well. Thus, the Culture Corner was created, and you can expect a special report on a semi-regular basis.

Yesterday, I rode my bike to Takinomia Park, the same place where I took the pictures from last month's special report. Now, the cherry trees are blooming, and I got a few good pictures. I also did a bit of exploring of the park and found an interesting monument and a path to climb a nearby mountain. This month, I show you more of the best that Niihama has to offer.

As with last time, these pictures were taken on my 5.1 megapixel camera. To allow people to be able to see smaller versions of these pictures, the ones you see in the table are only at 7% size. Clicking on the pictures will get you to the full 2.2 meg file at full resolution. If you are on a 56k line and you absolutely cannot download them, you can email me and I'll put up a medium sized version for those people and supply a link in the email where they may download it.

I hope you all enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

 Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis Chapter 10
Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis

Once again, owners of the DoCoMo 900i and 901i series cellular phones can download the newest chapter of Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis. This newest update will further the story and adds the esecape command for captured players. Also new to the update is the ability to combine three materia to form new spells and the option to have a second character.

As always, this newest update costs 525 yen to download and is among the many many reasons I really want that phone, other than the fact that it's the coolest cell phone in all existence....

Source: Famitsu

 Tales of Breaker Chapter 3
Square Enix

In more mobile news, Namco has released chapter three of six in their mobile RPG, Tales of Breaker. This newest chapter has the hero, Mika, escaping from the country Ririelihit into the neighboring country of Tsalheit. The people of Tsalheit are in pretty bad shape due to invasions from Ririelihit, so Mika decides to offer his assistance.

Similar to other RPGs on the FOMA service by DoCoMo, this newest update will cost 525 yen and has been available since March 31. Also pictured in this story are several pictures designed for use as cell phone backgrounds. These can be downloaded from Namco's website for a price.

Source: Impress

 Still More Cell Phone RPGs

Since every single Japanese has a cell phone, it has been seen as as a great mobile platform for many kinds of games. Here is a selection of some of the games you could be playing if you had a cell phone over here:

Ys VI: Arc of Napishtim is seeing a port to mobile phones as well. The game began began on March 22.

Another RPG available to Vodaphone's internet service is Dragon x Dragon. The final game in its series, the game centers around raising your own dragon. The game began on April 1 for monthly charge of 341 yen.

Another game in the Vodaphone Live! service is Quest Hunters. This game is available in a 50k version for 210 yen and 256k version for 315 yen per month. The game features randomly generated dungeons and allows the player to go on quest after quest. Like Dragon x Dragon, the game was available for download from April 1.

Sources: Impress I Magic Box

 Namco x Capcom Pre-Order Campaign
Namco x Capcom

The upcoming Namco x Capcom will have some goodies for those that pre-order. Those who pre-order after March 30 will receive a special soundtrack CD with 15 tracks from the game and the games from which the characters come. Namco x Capcom is set for a May 26 release in Japan for the PS2.

Source: IT Media

 Eien no Aselia: Kono Daichi no Hate de Delayed
Nippon Ichi

Nippon Ichi Software has announced that the release of Eien no Aselia: Kono Daichi no Hate de for PS2 has been delayed by two weeks in Japan. The game is a remake of Xuse's popular PC-based title which was originally released in November of 2003. The PlayStation 2 title was originally scheduled to be released on April 28th but now will see a release on May 12.

Source: RPGFan

  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

This week, I've got a three emails. It's kind of a slim week for email, but I had a bunch last time. So, I'll set up a topic. I want to know what you think of my special reports. Do you like them? What do you want to see in a future special report? Give me some ideas, and I'll give you pictures. Also, if you want to know more about any given picture, shoot me an email or post on the message boards. Not all of them are self-explanatory. I added these sections so readers can experience a taste of life in Japan. Since these sections are for you, I'm willing to give you what you want. Just tell me what that is.

Also, if you send me a letter and you don't get a reply, it's possible that it got caught by my spam filter. I saved two emails from the 400 spams I killed yesterday. There were also important emails from other staffers. I'll be more careful at checking what gets in there. If you send a letter and I don't reply, leave me a message on the boards or something. Let me know what happened. I WILL answer your email when I get it.

Gomen ><

Dear J-sensei,

I couldn't help but notice that you said Heath's email was the first time a fellow staffer volunteered a letter. I'd like to remind you that I did so a few columns ago when I corrected you about romaji usage.

Yours dejectedly,

Joel Pan

Fanfic Curator


Sorry about that. I really am. I'm prone to making mistakes sometimes, and this is the kind that hurts feelings. Your email came a while ago, and it slipped my mind. "I've slept since then." is not a good excuse, but it's the only one I've got. Sorry.

I got this a little too late


probably this is too late to still be updated, but Id done an april fools joke, but none of the sites I contacted where interested in doing april fools jokes :S (what happened to the old days when gaming news sites didnt take themself so serious ..) as I noticed you allready had one... I tought heck why not Id made it anyway. (but well its a final fantasy VIII based ds game... a fake scan, with Adel being a player character (and young ;)) see what you do with it.



Wow, that was a very well-made scan. I'd have gladly used it, but it got caught by my spam filter, and I found it on April 3. Sending it to me WOULD have been a good idea. I was a very big supporter of April Fools. Sorry we couldn't have used it.

Another email rescued from the spam folder

Dear Sensei,

I'm glad to hear that you've become readdicted to lumines. ^_^ I just picked it up at the PSP launch myself and am througohly addicted to it. (I also got Darkstalkers, but Lumines is even better.)

Now that the PSP has launched in the US, I've noticed many many complaints about dead pixels, and it's become a more common problem then I thought. I'm just curious as to how the Japanese public has reacted to the dead pixels. Are they being as whiny and returning them as often as Americans have? (Example: Several people on the US Playstation boards have returned their PSPs two or three times to get a perfect one.)

Also, any games that you are looking forward to on the PSP's horizon?




Japanese gamers never really got a chance to trade theirs in. Sony said that dust under the screen and dead pixels was normal behavior and refused to fix them. I had 3 PSPs and all three had a dead pixel. In fact, I had a button that stuck and dust under a screen too. My current PSP has a dead pixel towards the bottom right. I just gave up trying to get a new one...

As for games I'm looking forward to, I'm really looking forward to Wipeout Pure and the US version of Metal Gear Acid. I've purchased the US MGA and my family will bring it to me in a few weeks when I get a week off work.

And since you mention it, yes, Lumines is in fact the bees knees. It's a really really cool game, and I'm glad I got it. The game is fun to play and the music rocks the house. Best 3,990 Yen I've spent in a while.

Thanks for writing!


Anoher week is now behind me. Soccer ran over and I didn't get to go to the onsen! ;_; I guess I'll just have to go next week or change my day or something. I keep trying to put so much into my weekends: soccer, Japandemonium, onsen, Gundam, all these things and more. It's a wonder how I managed to do it before I added soccer. You'll note that games didn't make that list because I just don't have time. My addiction to Gundam is killing me, but it's too late now. Gotta plow through the last 150 or so episodes. It's only 70 hours or so. I can do that...

I hope you all have a good week, and email me about the special report. I want to hear all your thoughts.

Catch you on the flip
Jordan "I don't care, just get him some pants!" Jackson

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